Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Hear a Symphony

[My dear friend, The Divine Ms. M—no, not that one!—does the legwork and goes for the jugular in her criticism of Alaska's and Gov. Palin’s use of federal funds in light of their internal tax structure.]

Get Out the Violins...
by The Divine Ms. M

Did you know that Alaska does not charge income tax of its citizens?

Alaska also does not have a state sales tax though there are municipalities that do charge sales tax. While Alaska does not charge a state sales tax, it does impose a vehicle rental tax (10 percent on passenger vehicles; 3 percent on RVs), as well as an excise tax of $46 per voyage on passengers traveling on commercial vessels that provide overnight accommodations while in Alaska waters.

On the local level, 108 municipalities (up from 89 previously) collect a sales tax, with a range of between 1 percent and 7 percent. Typical sales tax rates are 3 percent to 5 percent. Details on local sales taxes can be found in Alaska Taxable, the Commerce Department's official annual report to the Alaska State Legislature on local sales and property taxes.

Other types of local taxes levied include raw fish taxes, hotel and motel "bed" taxes, severance taxes, liquor and tobacco taxes, gaming (pull tabs) taxes, tire taxes and fuel transfer taxes. A percentage of revenue collected from certain state taxes and license fees (e.g., petroleum, aviation motor fuel, telephone cooperative) is also shared with municipalities in Alaska.

As for property taxes...

Alaska is the largest state, but only a small portion of the land mass is subject to a property tax. Only 25 Alaskan municipalities (either cities or boroughs) levy a property tax. The average per capita property tax paid in 2007 in all municipalities, excluding oil and gas properties, was $1,228. In Alaska, intangible personal property is exempt from taxation.

For its citizens age 65 or older and disabled veterans, Alaska exempts the first $150,000 of assessed value from property taxes.

And estate taxes…

There is no inheritance tax in Alaska. In accordance with the repeal of the federal state death tax credit, for decedents who died after December 31, 2004, the Alaska Department of Revenue no longer requires executors to file a Preliminary Notice and Report or a copy of the federal estate return with the state.

And what of a gas tax suspension? They got that too. It just started on Sept. 1st and runs through August 2009.

So why did they keep the Federal money sent to them for a bridge to nowhere? You would think they could have raised the capital themselves. I don't want to see any more Alaskans with their hands out for something!

Ah, life is so much easier to manage when money flows in one direction, especially if that direction is toward you.

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